Cambodia Travel and Facts

The journey opens the view for plenty of interesting things to do, to see and to visit.

Today just take Air Asia at Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur Airport or by Tiger Airways from Changi Airport in Singapore and have fun with great holidays. 

The routing is also served by some other airlines such as Silk Air and Bangkok Airways but just forget them they are relatively very expensive. Example Air Asia charges for the Bangkok Phnom Penh flight Baht 1500,- Bangkok Airways pulls Baht 4500,- etc. got the message ? The Siem Reap flight means travel to Angkor. 

A typical Cambodia tourist route (90% of the visitors are tourists) could be from Singapore or Bangkok, do some advance booking via the internet and land at Phnom Penh or Siem
Mo Chit Bus Terminal
Mo Chit Bus Terminal

Now the overland route via Bangkok and Trat in Thailand

Start is at Mo Chit bus station from there you have 3 possibilities for travel to the Cambodian border at 
Bus counter for Cambodia
Bus counter for Cambodia
Aranyapradet. First is take the 

direct bus to Siem Reap (means one vehicle all way through). 

Next is change at the border and proceed on or move south to Trat (also starts at Mo Chit but at a different counter) / Koh Chang and after to Koh Kong

From Bangkok to Trat is about 6 hours drive and from there to the boundary 1.30 hours. The Minibus from Trat station leaves every 30 minutes. 

Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap

Phnom Penh to Bangkok  -  Koh Kong to Phnom Penh  -  PP to Bangkok  - PP to Siem Reap

Cambodian immigration counter at Aranyapradet
For PP it needs to change the bus at the border anyway, its about 12 to 14 hours.

Even if you want to travel direct to lets say the capital it's worth to make this little detour through the south, why? The roads to Siem Reap and PP have again increased to a disaster level (2015), about a third of the distance on both ways are only dirt roads. Now when using a bus to Trat and after to Koh Kong a good road is available throughout. 

Khmer people at the border offer to process your passport, let them do it, give them hundred Baht sit down and relax. After a while they will come and ask you to pay the visa, now the cheating starts. The immigration guy will ask you either $ 30,- or around one thousand Baht but the regular fee is $ 20,- they will argue you didn't give them two photos if you didn't you have lost. If you want to pay with Baht it's ok either but then it's 1000,- anyway. For this you get a one month tourist visa / single entry.  

Also at this crossing are much less people, after you are through take a motorbike taxi for around Bahr 100,- and move on. You can stay overnight in Koh Kong City ( they have enough good hotels) and the next morning take the bus to Phnom Penh talk to the hotel people about the ticket they have it available at the reception. Since the price is written on it there is not much cheating possible.

The border opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm.

Roads in the cities are not  bad

but elsewhere they are not good at all, most are on a dirt road level (middle of 2014) although the country is developing quick there are plenty of negative sides. Even traveling from the Thai border to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is a real disaster by road, actually a government who is such negligent on even the most basics infrastructure is definitely not worth to be called a government.

Cambodia rivers

Most interior is flat and plenty of rivers and streams supply an abundance of water which sometimes runs almost dry. 

Baray at Angkor Wat

To counter that the old Khmer built canals and storage systems, the most prominent are the Barays of Angkor from where the old Khmer received most water during the dry season. 

crossing the Mekong over rapids

The Mekong river which is the main water source moves in from the north-west, traverses the flat plains and empty into the sea via a large delta in Vietnam. On the picture above people cross the turbulent water over a home made rope bridge. 

Several border crossings, 2 airports and some ships are the gateway to the country from Vietnam and Thailand.

Sre Ambel in Cardamon Mountains


Phnom Chisor Temples

About 60 km south of Phnom Penh in Takeo province. 

Around is a great looking temple district on a hill, thats Phnom Chisor.  This Buddhist shrines have been created in beautiful masonry work and some other just like Angkor with some inscriptions from the 11th.Century when the place was known as Suryagiri.

The whole look quite similar to the Pagodas and Temples inBagan in central Myanmar. The panoramic view from the hill over the plains of Takeo province is a breathtaking experience. This sacred spot was created under King Suryavarman I who reigned for 47 years from 1002 on during that time 4 major temple were built in brick construction with sandstone lintels above the doorways and the wooden doors. 

Driving down south

Chicken farm on the bike

View from Phnom Chisor
View from Phnom Chisor

This is a temple cluster on hill which needs a walk over around 300 stairs up a hill which pops out from the plains between the capital and the south coast. The walk up takes your breath away but the reward is a great panorama. There are plenty of kids around asking for this and that. The picture above shows it better than any words.

Buddhist shrine and pond on the hill
Cambiodia is a Buddhist country

Phnom Chisor Temples
Phnom Chisor Temples

Known as Suryadri or 'the Mountain of the Sun' and due to the influence of Hinduism of that time, was dedicated to Brahma, 'the Creator of the Universe'.

Cambodia Temple at Tonle Bati
Cambodia Temple at Tonle Bati

Temples at Tonle Bati

The small monuments at Tonle Bati.

Located about 2 hour south of Phnom Penh with a similar architecture to Angkor but much smaller, they look beautiful and there are usually no tourists around. Only some kids and a old women to keep them clean.

This is a small temple cluster no match for Angkor but a beautiful sacred site in a tropical setting. The women who keep the place in order try quite a bit to squeeze out some money for it which makes some sense because if she wouldn't be there the temple and surrounding would be in a mess.

The main shrine
The main shrine at Tonle Bati

Built with the usual sandstone 

and decorated with a few Buddha statues in a great illuminated setting. To reach the place try the tour indicated above.

Journey to Tonle Bati
Journey to Tonle Bati
The main temple
The main temple

Temple at Angkor Thom
Temple at Angkor Thom

Bokor National Park

One of the best day trip around is to Bokor National Park

it needs to be in good condition since the trek up there is rough and steep but the reward is worth it, don't do this with slippers! It seems that all this is still under military control, we even had a soldier with a machine gun with us (2013). There is great nature waiting and a incredible panorama over the coast and ocean from the burned ruins of the casino at the top of the hill.

national park trekking at Bokor
National park trekking at Bokor

trekking at Bokor Mountain and protection

Bokor National Park Tour at the Casino

bokor national park waterfall

waterfall pool at bokor
Waterfall pool at Bokor

The national park is in Kampot, 

Kampot Coast
Kampot Coast
there is tree and bamboo jungle, great waterfalls and some scenery out of a horror movie. In the wilds of southern Cambodia it's a real highlight, a nature perspective in a totally different direction as Angkor Wat. 

Bokor should be on any travel plan when visiting the country, its only a few hour with the bus from Phnom Penh over a good road to Kampot. Tours are available every day, just talk with the hotel they arrange everything.

Bokor Hill Station
Bokor Hill Station
A bit to the west is Sihanoukville and from there the bus is waiting to Koh Kong with more great nature that's travel with a different twist, no ruins, no temples, just waterfalls, wilderness, rivers and ideal for dirt biking, trekking and dirt bike tours can be made up to the Bokor Hill Station and around.

A young man is our tour guide for the trek at the Bokor National Park in Kampot, the idea is to trek up the mountain to the hill station.

The whole road from Kampot

Up at the hill station casino
up and down Bokor mountain is under permanent construction which is a difficult undertaking considering the terrain, before it was only a dirt road. 

The basic road into the park is already finished and also the asphalt cover is done but the trekking group climb down from the back of the truck and off we go into the quiet forest, the truck will move on without us and wait a couple of kilometers further up at the meeting point we will reach in about 2 hours. 

Trekking tourism in Cambodia
This is a constant climbing and the trail is over slippery earth, limestone boulders, through the bamboo jungle and plenty of other lush tropical jungle. 

The thickets are very dense from time to time which makes the walk difficult on top of it there are constantly sharp broken bamboo pieces popping out from the earth i guess everyone can imaging what happen when losing balance and fall into this bamboo spears, means good shoes are mandatory and some gloves will avoid cuts.

Cambodia trekking

Beside of this there is "Dirt Bike Adventure", 

considering the bad condition of the roads or often no road
Dirt Bike Adventure
Dirt Bike Adventure
at all, but a small trail dirt bike tours make sense, read more.

Misty view of the coast,

looking down from the plateau to the southern coast is a breathtaking experience. The best viewpoint is behind the blackened walls of the Palace Hotel and Casino. It is possible to book accommodations at the hill station at the Ranger HQ.

Casino playground of French colonialists
Casino playground of 
French colonialists
Once the playground of French colonialists, later occupied by Vietnamese soldiers, the walls of this grand structure are now a mosaic bullet holes and graffiti.